Alum Olympian Shares Story on CNN and with Students

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Two-time Olympic athlete Ngozi Mwanamwambwa Asinga (US’89, C’93) was recently featured on CNN’s African Voices series, a collection of videos showcasing some of the continent’s contemporary change-makers. Principia provided yearbook and historic photos of Ngozi to CNN, and the video shows several shots of her wearing her Principia jersey on her way to becoming a seven-time NCAA Division III All-American in track. While competing at Principia, she earned top-three finishes in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter races, and was the 1992 U.S. National Champion in the 200-meter.

“Honestly, I didn’t put too much effort into my running at first because it came quite easily to me, and I was winning races,” she says. “But the Principia coaches challenged me to be more disciplined in my training.” The renewed dedication paid off. During her junior year, officials in her home country of Zambia asked her to represent the nation at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. “I went there, head held high, feeling very proud because not only was I the flag bearer, but I was the first woman from Zambia to compete in the Olympics.”

Ngozi graduated a year later and set her sights on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where she ran her best time ever in the 400-meter race. Later, she earned an MBA in international business from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. During this time, she also met her husband, three-time Olympian Tommy Asinga, who is originally from Suriname.

Three years ago, the couple moved to the capital city of Lusaka, Zambia, where Ngozi, a certified fitness trainer, founded Go Go Fitness, a boot camp and training center. “I’m very passionate about helping women in particular,” she says. “Attitudes about fitness are slowly changing in Africa. While men are expected to remain fit, it hasn’t always been that way for women. But an emerging middle class allows for opportunities to break down those cultural barriers. Clients understand that when I push them out of their comfort zone, it is truly to help them.”

Ngozi recently visited both the Upper School and College while bringing her daughter, Busiwa, to board at the Upper School. While in the area, coaches on both campuses invited her to speak to athletic teams during preseason training. “I encouraged the student-athletes to practice Christian Science on the field and to set very high goals,” she says. “Who would ever think that I could compete in the Olympics as a Division III athlete? I shared my tremendous gratitude for my time at Principia. I am who I am today because of Prin, and it remains very special to me.” Ngozi did not shy away from tough topics, drawing on the recent controversy with American Olympic swimmers to remind students that “honesty and humility are crucial in sports and in life,” as she put it.

See the CNN video